Quality Standards

One of the many world-changing effects of the Industrial Revolution was the development of comprehensive industrial standards.  Some of the earliest standardized parts included basic components like screws, which needed to have matching thread sizes for multiple different applications.  Individual companies often still had different standards from each other, however, which caused increasing difficulty in trade.  Engineers and architects had many individual ideas about the best weight and sizes for industrial components.  Not surprisingly, many disagreed with each other, causing widespread difficulties for companies that wanted to purchase components from other businesses.  It was this setting that brought about the first national standards body, the Engineering Standards Committee, in London, England back in 1901.

Well over a century later, the number of industrial standards has increased monumentally.  A variety of international organizations now contribute to the creation and overseeing of standards for industries of all different types.  These standards and regulations not only revolutionized the commerce of interchangeable parts, but also helped raise levels of safety worldwide of diverse components in all different areas.  Fluid system control products such as valves, gauges, and fittings are no exception.  While the industrial world has come a long way since industrial regulations and standards were first introduced, it is still essential for companies to know that the fluid system control products they purchase are of the highest quality and meet all appropriate standards and regulations.

There are many important regulatory organizations covering this area today.  The following covers some of the agencies that ensure every fluid and flow control product is safe, efficient, and works with a wide variety of different systems.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI): Founded in 1918, ANSI is a private non-profit that focuses on voluntary consensus standards for services, systems, products, and many other aspects of industrial production.  It oversees norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses across a wide variety of sectors.  ANSI originated as a combination of five engineering societies and three government agencies, and it retains its centralized role in setting industrial standards to this day.  By promoting voluntary consensus standards, ANSI plays a primary role in enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses while ensuring the safest, highest quality products and operations.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): Also a non-profit industry, ASME predates ANSI by close to 40 years, with its original inception dating back to 1880.  This group was formed by a small group of industrialists and has grown to an organization that holds over 140,000 members in 151 countries.  It produces nearly 600 codes and standards that cover a broad range of technical areas, including fluid system control products.  ASME is also well known for its Performance Test Codes (PTC), which provide rules and procedures for the execution of performance test results at all levels.  This organization has maintained relevance throughout many years of changes on the industrial landscape, and plays a highly important role in the most cutting-edge engineering issues out there today.

American Petroleum Institute (API): The API represents the largest trade association for the oil & natural gas industry in the U.S.  The petroleum industry is a heavy user of flow control products that fall under the operating standards of the API.  The API has been developing equipment and standards for the oil and natural gas industries since 1924, with over 600 recommended standards and practices currently in place.  These standards help the petroleum industry on many levels.  They enhance safety operations and improve quality assurance.  API standards also improve the overall efficiency of operations, help plants comply with legislative requirements, and protect the environment.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO): Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the ISO has promoted worldwide industrial standards since 1947.  The scope of the ISO is truly broad, with 165 nations out of the 206 total countries of the world participating.  Instrumental in facilitating international trade, the ISO is a voluntary organization that has published over 19,500 international standards covering almost every industry.  ISO certification has become widely known as a standard of quality and credibility for all different types of companies.  ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications are issued by external certification bodies, demonstrating that accredited businesses are working at the highest level.  When companies follow ISO standards and receive certifications, they increase productivity, minimize waste, and ensure that their work is of the highest safety, reliability, and quality.

The above organizations, along with others, play a vital role in ensuring integrity of fluid control products.  The industrial standards developed over the years have vastly increased international trade, as well as ensured the safest, most efficient products.  At Southwest Process Controls, we distribute valves, fittings, and other fluid system control products that adhere to the standards of ANSI, ASME, API, and ISO, among others.  Our customers can rest assured that every product they order from us has passed the stringent standards of all relevant industrial standards and regulatory agencies.

Oil and Gas Industry

Texas_highlighting_the_Permian_BasinWith the constant stream of news that warns about the United States’ reliance on foreign oil and natural gas, it may be surprising to some to learn that America’s domestic oil and gas production is enjoying a revival.  The Permian Basin, located in the western part of Texas and the southeastern part of New Mexico, are the scene of an increase in oil production that the industry hasn’t seen in nearly 30 years.  It is having an extraordinary impact on the economy of Midland Texas and is contributing to the economy of the rest of the country as well.

Professor Bradley Ewing of Texas Tech recently published a report entitled “The Economic Impact of the Permian Basin’s Oil and Gas Industry.”  Nearly a year in the making, this report relays some impressive numbers from the oil production that is occurring in the area.  Throughout 2013, the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin has sustained over 546,000 jobs.  Furthermore, it has had an economic output of 137.8 billion dollars while contributing more than 71.1 billion dollars to Texas’ and New Mexico’s gross state products.  The Permian Basin also currently maintains the largest rig count of any oil-producing area in the world. The oil and gas being produced in this region, about 80 to 90% of which is based in Texas, is being produced in very impressive numbers.  The Permian Basin, along with Eagle Ford Shale, has contributed to production numbers that topped 3 million barrels per day from Texas in June alone.

What’s made this all possible is new drilling technology that 10 years ago was science fiction. Drilling oil wells used to be limited to a straight hole, made by a stationary rig. However, new methods have been developed to allow drilling in virtually any direction the operators see fit. This enables the drill head to follow a predetermined or changeable course. This control is possible by the use of an array of advanced sensors on the drill string. During drilling operations, the information from these sensors is transferred through fiber optic cables and processed by a supercomputer. The information collected creates a detailed view of the subterranean environment which allow for the recovery of oil and gas thousands of feet down. This technology has allowed Texas oil and gas wells to reach a depth of over 4,000 feet and growing. In fact, this same technology has also allowed for deep water drilling to reach over 40,000 feet.

Another technological advancement is the design of the rig itself. In the past moving a land based rig was a large construction project, involving much time and labor. However, newer systems have the ability to “walk” and begin drilling in a new location.

The oil and gas industry is the epitome of continuous improvement As technological advancements continue to change the industry, Southwest Process Controls, will continue to provide it with cutting products and unmatched customer service.